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  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)

  • Date:

    996-1021 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stamped green glass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Glass, Room 131, case 85, shelf 4

People used coin weights such as this in Egypt under the Fatimid dynasty (969-1171). This example weighs 5.72 grammes and we think it was used to balance the weight of two silver dirhams. It was produced in the reign of the caliph al-Hakim (996-1021), whose regnal name appears in its full form on the obverse. (This is the side of the coin that carries the main design.) The reverse is inscribed with the Shahadah (the brief Muslim creed) in the form used by the Shi'ite Fatimids.

Physical description

Green glass coin weight, with some surface decay and iridescence. Equates to the weight of a double dirham.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)


996-1021 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stamped green glass

Marks and inscriptions

'al-Haakim / bi-!amr allaah / ?adl'
'Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Justice.'
Arabic; Arabic; obverse; stamped

'laa !ilaaha !illaa allaah / muHammad rasuul allaah / ?aliyy waliyy allaah'
'There is no god but Allah / Muhammad is the messenger of Allah / 'Ali is the friend of Allah'
Arabic; Arabic; reverse; stamped


Diameter: 2.8 cm, Diameter: 1.6 cm of die, Weight: 5.72 g

Descriptive line

Green coin weight, with some surface decay and iridescence, from the reign of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim (996-1021). Equates to the weight of a double-dirham. Egypt (Cairo)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Balog, Paul, "Fatimid glass jetons: token currency or coin weights?", Annali, Istituto Italiano di Numismatica, 17-19 (1971-2): 175-264
Balog, Paul, "Fatimid glass jetons: token currency or coin weights?", Annali, Istituto Italiano di Numismatica, 20 (1973): 121-212
Contadini, Anna, Fatimid Art at the Victoria & Albert Museum. London: V&A Publications, 1998. p.107, plate 48a

Production Note

The Fatimid caliph al-Hakim (ruled 996-1021) is named in the inscription






Islam; Africa


Ceramics Collection

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